We've been working with Drupal 8 for a while now and I think it's a good time to reflect on way we've learned. Good and bad points - but mainly good.
The Good Points
- Drupal 8 is more refined and has better workflows. Using it is faster, more intuitive and more user friendly with a better design to the whole system. In lots of ways that you can't specifically put your finger on, it just seems to work better.
- Drupal 8 is faster - one of the problems of Drupal 7 is that for logged in users it can be sluggish. With Drupal 8 though, we think it is a bit more zippy. The admin side also benefits from efficiency improvements as part of PHP 7. The front end benefits from the introduction of "big pipe" a module originally developed by Facebook, which delivers content in a way which appears faster to the end user. The end result is that even complex sites are limber and speedy.
- Media handling is improving, it's been a long running criticism of Drupal that it doesn't handle this better, Drupal 8 is addressing that - adding inline images to pages is now *almost* intuitive.
- Content managed background images - while these were always difficult in Drupal 7 this is now quite a simple setup. A real advantage.
- Even eighteen months into Drupal 8's lifecycle, many things don't work without a lot of effort. The module ecosystem still seems a little bit sketchy and lacking in maturity. We haven't yet found any deal breakers, but we've been pushed a few times.
- Updates for some of the more risky modules had been quite a delicate process, sometimes involving bad language and teeth gnashing. Even over the past 2 months though, this has become less of an issue as the underlying system gradually becomes stable.
Drupal faces a big challenge in getting developers to make the move to 8. It's different enough from 7 to make it an effort and the danger is that developers will decide to make the effort to switch to WordPress instead. WordPress is a great CMS, but it doesn't have the same flexibility, scope and security of Drupal. We might have some more adventures in WordPress land, but we are committed to Drupal for the long term. As Drupal 8 matures it will improve and what is now a good base, we predict, will become the best answer to anything more complicated than a blog - and even a blog can turn into something more interesting, so start with Drupal 8 and you will have the freedom to grow.